“Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo has responded to online fan anger in the wake of controversy over the departure of cast-members Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew at the end of the current 14th season.
“We R grateful all of you are so passionate but if you knew these two women the way I know them they would not approve of all this nastiness,” tweeted Pompeo, 48, who plays Dr. Meredith Grey in the ABC medical drama set at a Seattle hospital.
“But DO you know them?” responded one Twitter commenter. “Because you clearly don’t give a damn your COSTARS of 9-10 YEARS are leaving. It took you three days to respond” after Deadline.com first reported the two cast-members’ exit. “ . . . Were you counting the money you’re receiving because of their departure?” A January cover story in The Hollywood Reporter said Pompeo, with bonuses and incentives, will earn $20 million a year. She already ranked third on Forbes magazine’s 2017 list of highest-paid TV actresses, at $13 million annually.
“They both are super shiny happy people,” Pompeo said in a second tweet. “I know you’re angry but you’re representation couldn’t be further from who these women actually are.” When a fan asked, “Aren’t we allowed to be angry at this injustice, though?,” the star replied, “You are but spreading acceptance and love is our message with Greys and what all of the actors try to do with our performances on this show.”
That did not placate other fans, however, and several hours later, Pompeo posted one last comment on the issue, writing, “Please don’t accuse me of being disrespectful it doesn’t matter what I say nothing I say is ok so I won’t say anything at all anymore.”
Both series creator Shonda Rhimes and co-showrunner Krista Vernoff have said the departures of Capshaw, who played Dr. Arizona Robbins, and Stony Brook native Drew, who played Dr. April Kepner, were for creative reasons unrelated to Pompeo’s raise.
Vernoff tweeted that any suggestion “that our cast changes are in any way related to Ellen Pompeo’s salary renegotiation is wrong and hurtful and misguided. It smacks of an old, broken, patriarchal notion that women must be pitted against each other and that one woman’s success will be costly to others. … The decision to make changes to our cast was a creative one. The only thing as constant on Grey’s Anatomy as Ellen Pompeo is our penchant for reinvention. It is a part of our success and what keeps the show exciting. We love these actresses and we love these characters and it felt true and right creatively to wrap up their stories.”
Neither Capshaw nor Drew has commented on social media about Pompeo’s posts.